How Can We Define Truth?
The definition of truth should be such that it is acceptable by all, in every single circumstance and with each relationship. The truth should not change from people to people or from situation to situation. The truth should not hurt or divide people.
However, many truths in this world continue to alter from person to person, depending on people’s point of view, their opinions and their understanding, that changes from time to time. For example, eating meat is unacceptable in some faiths of religion whereas it is acceptable to few other religions. These worldly truths vary according to individual’s beliefs. And people have got highly preoccupied into this, in that which is subjective; whereas for God, he is above all dualities, He is in the Absolute truth.
Param Pujya Dadabhagwan, an enlightened being, in his book ‘The Hidden Meaning of Truth and Untruth’, calls worldly truth as the relative truth. The Absolute truth is the Soul (Atma), whereas the worldly truth and untruth are only part of worldly interactions. Let’s explore these…
1. Absolute truth (said to be ‘Sat’ in Sanskrit)
● The eternal element of Soul (the Self or God) is the Absolute truth.
● It is the real truth.
● It is permanent or eternal.
● It is independent.
● It never changes.
● It is universal; acceptable to everyone.
● It unites.
● It never hurts anyone.
● It is beyond duality.
● Absolute truth is beyond the reach of the mind, intellect or ego.
● This truth can only be fully understood when one acquires the knowledge of the Self.
2. Relative truth (Satya)
● The World is the relative truth.
● It is the worldly truth.
● It is temporary.
● It is dependent on viewpoints. Relative truth is always in relation to someone or something. Eg. I am son, in relation to my father. And I am a passenger, in relation to the train I have boarded. Since it is based on some other entity.
● It alters, depending on one’s point of view.
● Relative truth is understood through the intellect. Whilst each one follows one’s own intellect, there can be conflicting truths.
3. Untruth (Asatya)
● Untruth means a lie. That which is not truth is untruth.
● Since worldly truth is relative, it is possible that what is truth for one, may be untruth for another.
The process of deriving the truth:
Untruth is indeed untruth. But even the relative truth is not the real truth, as it is different for everyone, and is temporary. A son-in-law is not a son-in-law forever, a father-in-law is not a father-in-law forever. If the son-in-law takes a divorce, this truth will be proved to be untruth. Further, what the world considers as the truth is complete untruth in the eyes of God who sees it all as a mere result of one’s good and bad karmas. And you say, “I am John. (the reader may insert his own name here)”. But God says, “You are a Pure Soul.”
Param Pujya Dadabhagwan says, “The word truth belongs to 360 degrees. The degree, at which one is at, is the degree that one believes to be true. Therefore, all the truth, starting from 0 degrees to 360 degrees, varies, and it comprises of conflicting opinions. So, relative truth encompasses various viewpoints; that is not actually the truth. Real truth is of only one viewpoint. That which is the Real truth does not change. The truth that is the final and the eternal truth is in the centre. Absolute means the complete truth, whereas relative means truth up to a certain extent.”
Thus, deriving the worldly truth is more or less meaningless, as such. Nevertheless, as long as we have the desire for worldly happiness, we must abide by the [worldly] truth and refrain from untruth, such that no one is hurt. And if we ever lie or hurt someone, we must do pratikraman, which is a 3-step process to clear our mistakes. It includes:
1. Confession of the mistake,
2. Repentance for the mistake, and
3. Firm resolution to not repeat the mistake.
When we do pratikraman with a sincere heart, it protects us from the adverse effects of committing the mistake, and gradually gets us out of our bad habit of lying or hurting others.
What is the Absolute truth?
We are really a Pure Soul. This is the real truth, the real viewpoint. It is a fact!
However, we say, “I am John(the reader may insert his own name here).” It is with respect to this body, that I am John. When the body is no more, the name John too will no more exist, isn’t it? Hence, this is a temporary worldly truth.
What is the process of deriving Absolute Truth?
To derive Absolute truth, all you have to do is meet a Living Gnani, the Enlightened being, who is Self-Realized and has the divine power to help others attain Self-Realization too, and express to Him your wish that, “I want to attain the Absolute Truth. Please grant it to me.”
Gnani then, through the Self-Realization process, graces us with full knowledge of the Self i.e. what are the properties of Soul, what are the properties of matter (being of John), how it is separate from you, how you are really Pure Soul, and how matter is governed by laws of Nature!!! After Self-Realization, our Soul is awakened, and its awareness never leaves thereafter; it only keeps increasing, and with it increases our experience of bliss, which is the inherent property of Soul. Thus, the Absolute Truth gets derived!!
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